Documentary Film based on Gibson's book: Qur'anic Geography
 

 

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THE SOUTHERN FORTS

Below: View from the Naqab Escarpment near the Naqab fort

East of Naqab

 

 

Naqab Fort

(Location: N 29 degrees, 59.863, E 035 degrees 30.281, Elevation 5495 feet)

Just east of the old highway, in the village of Ras al Naqab, is a Edomite/Nabataean fort. A large modern microwave tower is now built into the back of the ruins, and a new air force base is being built on the top of this hill. Be careful shooting pictures around these military sites. The fort is easily accessible and is around 45 meters wide and 200 meters long. The fort was originally built with unfashioned field stone, and constructed without mortar. Due to repeated earthquake damage over the centuries this fort has been reduced to a huge pile of stone.

The fort is located in front (right) of the microwave towers on the top of this hill.

 This fort was destroyed by successive earthquakes. From the foot of the microwave tower the fort looks like a huge rectangle of loose uncut stones.

 

The view of the Hishma desert from the Naqab fort. Nabataean caravans used to cross this desert, brining incense from Southern Arabia via Leuce Come to Petra.

Below the fort, down a cut in the cliff is an excellent water source that is still in use to this day. (Located at: N 29, 59.259, E 035, 29.791, Elevation 1381 meters)

Qarna Fort

(Location: N 29 degrees, 59,167, E 035; 32,381, Elevation 5,399 feet)

Along the southern end of Nabataea are a large number of forts. This page will introduce you to some of them. The main fort that everything pivoted from was probably AlQarita. The wall ended at this fort. Gluek classified this fort as Edomite, although there are pieces of Nabataean, Roman and Byzantine pottery scattered all over the surface of this fort.

Below Left: The Qarna fort seen from a distance. Behind this fort is a large graveyard. During 2000-2002 grave robbers have dug up and removed almost all of the artifacts from these grave. Dan Gibson, a Middle Eastern historian, living nearby was able to obtain a small sampling of artifacts from one grave from some grave robbers he happened to come upon. As far as can be discerned the coins were all Nabataean and Roman.

 Right: The Qarna fort from the air. The robbed out graveyard is on the lower right. The fort is surrounded by the ancient town. To visit this site on Googe Earth follow this link:
Qarna Fort & Village.kmz

 

The fort as seen from the south west tower. While it looks like a big pile of stones, the walls and some gates are quite visible. In the far distance Ma'an can be seen from the fort walls. It was also possible to flash messages from this fort to the large fort at Grayn.

Nasri Village

(Location: N29;57.494, E 035;33.458, Elevation 5176 feet.)

 

 
 This site can be reached by a regular car, by taking the paved track east from Naqab. You will need to stop on the road and hike up the hill. This is a village, with no walls. It could be considered as two sites, side by side. One site is 120 X 100 meters, and the other about 75 X 75 meters. There seems to have been a larger structure on the top of the hill, surrounded by other buildings.The name suggests that there were Christians at this site at some time, but there does not appear to be a church at this site. However, if you find one, please let us know,and we will update our information. The site has Edomite, Nabataean, Roman, and Byzantine surface pottery finds.

Thalaja Fort

 

 You will need a pickup tuck or 4WD to reach this spot. This small fort, was located on the edge of the escarpment. Apparently there was water farther down the edge of the escarpment. This fort seems to have guarded a possible route up the escarpment from the desert below. It is apparently a very cold place in the winter, as the name seems to convey. We discovered Edomite, Nabataean, Roman, and Byzantine surface pottery at this site as well as some pottery from Africa. Thalaja Fort.kmz

 

Al Betra Fort

(Location: N29;55.974, E 035;35.788, Elevation: 5131 feet)

 

 
 This may or may not have been a fort. It is a nicely built structure with cut and shaped rocks, probably Roman (14 X 12 meters) but in a quite ruinous state. It is also a burial site for Arab soldiers from the Arab Revolt. Apparently Lawrence camped on this hill during a cold winter, and many of his troops died here. Many of them were simply placed in the Roman ruins and rocks pulled down over them. The rest of the hill is spotted with Muslim graves. We collected spent shells, mortar wings, an spotted Roman pottery around this site. There are also several other mounds on this hill but we never stopped to examine them, as the day was late and we wanted to get back. To visit this site on Googe Earth follow this link:
Al Betra Fort.kmz

West of Naqab

Above: The forts guarding the wadi road below modern Delaga. This wadi descends from the Roman Road down to Wadi Araba. In the picture above, a small Edomite fort guards the wadi near the center of the picture. On the top left, one can see the remains of a Nabataean/Roman fort, where several modern buildings have been created out of the older stone. Right: A drawing illustrating the location of the forts in the above picture. Below: The Nabataean/Roman fort, where we located many pieces of red pottery. Also a picture of the wadi and caravan road.

 

The Edomite Fort

(Location: N 30; 07.316, E 035;21.603, Elev:1025m)

The Nabataean/Roman fort where modern buildings have been built out of the old stone. This site is littered with ancient pottery. 

(Location: N30;06.709, E035;21.276, Elev:1141m)

 

The wadi road, as seen from the Nabataean/Roman fort.

 

The hills on the back side of the Nabataean/Roman fort.
 Farther down the Delaga/Rishi road, we came across this Nabataean tomb cut into the top of a rock in the middle of the desert. This rock is located at the bottom of the wadi, wear where it joins Wadi Araba. The sides of the tomb had columns, while the inside is simply a rock cut chamber. There are stairs leading up to the tomb, and the ground in front of the tomb is littered with ancient red pottery shards. To the left of the rock is a hidden wadi/hollow which would have made a great camping/tenting spot.

 

 

Above: The location of this Jordanian Nabataean tomb is remarkably reminiscent to some of the Nabataean tombs found in Meda'in Saleh in Saudi Arabia. It is a single tomb carved out of a free standing rock in the open desert. (Location: N 30; 16.550, E o35;18.077, Elevation 432 meters) Much of the top of the rock is worn off, but it is still possible to see the outline of pillars and other decorations.

 

 

To learn about more Nabataean forts, click here!

 

 

Right: Sliding down sand dunes in Wadi Nukheila. This wadi makes up the major portion of the ancient caravan route between Humeima and Wadi Araba. It is possible to drive up most of this wadi, from the Araba side until one comes to a very narrow siq. From this point, it is a 14 - 15 kilometer hike farther up the mountain pass until one comes out near the Nabataean city of Humeima.

 

Petra (A complete section in itself) Bostra
Nabataens in the Negev Wadi Rumm
Mampsis Aila
Mampsis Photos Humeima
Nessana Meda'in Saleh
Ruheiba Meda'in Saleh: Tombs: Exteriors and Interiors
Avdat Meda'in Saleh: Tomb Decorations, Falcons, Faces, etc
Elusa Meda'in Saleh: Niches, Altars and God Blocks
Gaza Ma'an
Shivta Leuce Come
The Wall Where was Leuce Come? by Bob Lebling
Negev Wall A Possible Solution for Leuce-Come By Dan Gibson
Sela South Forts
Archeological sites in Saudi Arabia More South Forts